Why are Our Teens Stressed

Stress is an inevitable part of life. Modern life and stress go hand in hand. Each one of us is under stress and we cannot avoid the daily stress. Even our children are not spared from the clutches of day-to-day stress. Our children, especially the teenagers, feel pressure from all angles. Parents, teachers, tutors, peer group – all put them under stress. Teen aged is the worst affected lot as far as the stress is concerned. Stressed teens often fall prey to unhealthy dietary habits, smoking, drug addiction, depression, and sometimes even suicide.

A little stress is good because it adds challenges and keeps the child motivated but too much stress can take a heavy toll on the mind and body. Stress is one of the greatest threats to health.

Teen age is a very crucial period in your child’s life. It is the link between childhood and adulthood. The physical and emotional change that teens face with onset of puberty is a very big contributing factor to their stress. Search for personal identity can be very stressful if not handled properly by parents. Most of the stress faced by the teens revolves around two most important domains of a teenager’s life: home and school.  Many times, it is not so easy to recognize the source of stress, but anyone of the following might be the cause of stress that your teen is undergoing.

  • Parent expectations: Teens suffer from stress many a times because of parental pressure to perform and stand out among other school children, and children of their friends and relatives. This puts unnecessary pressure on the teens and if they are unable to rise up to their expectations, they feel frustrated and sometimes depressed.
  • School expectations: Numerous expectations and high standards set for students in schools puts them under stress. School authorities, in a bid to earn a good name for themselves, try to push students to get meritorious marks in board exams.
  • Examination Stress: This is the biggest stress each and every teen is facing today. For some teens, just the idea of taking exams can switch on the panic button. Many children experience high levels of stress as examinations approach and in some cases, it becomes very acute.
  • Problems at home: Frequent fights between the parents, financial problems, illness or death of dear one, an alcoholic parent also add to stress of teens.
  • Expectations beyond capabilities: It is a very common observation that all the parents want their children to excel even if they are incapable. Teens who are under-performers feel frustrated, shy and become loners.
  • Fear of Failure: This is the biggest cause of stress if the child is unable to cope up with the day to day studies.
  • Too many activities and time management: It is often seen that teens are loaded with too many activities and run short of time. After the school hours, parents are trying to push them in some kind of sport or hobby, unmindful of child’s choice. Over scheduling their children can put a lot of mental pressure.
  • Uncertainty about getting admissions in college: In the present day competitive world, the stress of getting admissions to college of their dreams is affecting every teen.
  • Being bullied by friends and siblings: Parents sometimes unknowingly make comparison with the siblings, and an underperformer teen starts getting bullied by the sibling and friends.
  • Lack of confidence
  • Peer pressure to perform undesirable behaviour or forcing them to indulge in smoking, drinking, sex or drug abuse can cause lot of stress.
  • Homework stress: Children are over loaded with homework and often get stressed trying to finish it on time.
  • Arguments with parents
  • Divorce or separation of parents
  • Break up with girlfriend / boyfriend

As a caring parent, you must know the reasons why your teen is stressed. If you want your teen to sail through the stress period comfortably, you have to help him manage stress.

Dr. Aparna Pradhan